Most recent performance
There are currently no scheduled performances of Adriana Lecouvreur. It was last on stage 7 February—2 March 2017 as part of the Winter 2016/17 season.
The actress Adriana Lecouvreur is adored by many – including stage manager Michonnet – but she loves Maurizio, Count of Saxony. He is entranced by Adriana, and desperately tries to extricate himself from his former lover, the Princesse de Bouillon.
Adriana suspects Maurizio still loves the Princess; meanwhile, the Princess grows increasingly sure that Maurizio has left her for another. When she discovers her rival to be Adriana, she poisons the actress. Adriana dies in Maurizio’s arms.
The death of French actress Adrienne Lecouvreur inspired many plays and operas, of which Francesco Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur is the finest and most enduring. The opera would become Cilea’s greatest success, renowned particularly for his heroine’s arias ‘Io son l’umile ancilla’ in Act I and ‘Poveri fiori’ in Act IV – though Cilea’s atmospheric and elegant score offers much more besides, with Maurizio’s aria ‘La dolcissima effigie sorridente’, the Act III ballet and Adriana’s intense spoken recitation at the end of that act particular highlights.
David McVicar’s 2010 production was The Royal Opera’s first since 1906. For it, set designer Charles Edwards re-created to exacting detail a working Baroque theatre, similar to the 18th-century Comédie-Française in which the real Adrienne would have performed. Sumptuous period costumes designed by Brigitte Reiffenstuel complete a spectacular production that delves into the intoxicating allure of the theatre.
News and features
8 February 2017
Your thoughts on David McVicar's sumptuous production of this tragic opera.
1 February 2017
Covent Garden’s production of Cilea’s best-known work features a spectacular working model in homage to a golden age of theatre.
19 January 2017
Cilea writes a fiery, impassioned aria for his villainess – proof that in opera, even baddies can be pitiable.
18 January 2017
The French actress’s glamorous life and sudden death inspired countless tales of murderous crimes of passion – including Adriana Lecouvreur.
12 January 2017
Our quick introduction to Cilea’s impassioned theatre tragedy, sumptuously realized in David McVicar’s Royal Opera production.
19 December 2016
Carmen isn’t the only sensual starring mezzo role – we round up some of our favourites, from Donizetti to Birtwistle.
Adriana Lecouvreur is an opera in four acts by Francesco Cilea to an Italian libretto by Arturo Colautti, based on the 1849 play Adrienne Lecouvreur by Eugène Scribe and Ernest Legouvé. It was first performed on 6 November 1902 in Milan.